Lynx hold on to defeat Phoenix 58-56 after leading by 16 points

Published 8:24 am Friday, June 7, 2019

By Kent Youngblood

Star Tribune

After three strong showings to start the season, the Lynx found themselves defenseless in Seattle in a loss there earlier this week.

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It had coach Cheryl Reeve wondering where all that defense had gone.

Back to Target Center.

Back at home, the Lynx beat the Phoenix Mercury 58-56 on Thursday thanks to their defense and despite an offense that went cold in the fourth quarter.

Up 13 entering the fourth quarter, the Lynx had to get stops on the Mercury’s final two possessions to win, pushing their record to 4-1 in front of an announced crowd of 8,001.

Mercury star DeWanna Bonner had 25 points — 12 in the fourth quarter — but she came up empty down the stretch. Lynx rookie Napheesa Collier blocked Bonner’s shot with 48.7 seconds left, then forced Bonner into an off-balance shot as time expired.

Odyssey Sims led the Lynx with 15 points. Lexie Brown came off the bench to score a career-high 12 points, including five in a fourth quarter in which the Lynx scored just nine points. Center Sylvia Fowles had 10 points.

But it was the defense that won this game.

The Lynx held Phoenix to 36.8 percent shooting. The league’s leading three-point percentage shooting team entering the game, Phoenix made just six of 26 three-point attempts.

The Mercury (1-2) scored a season-low in points, and it was also the lowest total by a Lynx opponent this season.

It was enough to offset a Lynx offense that scored just nine points on 4-for-12 shooting with five turnovers in the final 10 minutes.

Given the way the game began, the Lynx were fortunate to be tied at 17 heading into the second quarter.

With Bonner scoring the first seven, the Mercury started the game on a 9-2 run, forcing a Lynx time out.

Minnesota still struggled with its offensive sets for a while, but settled down, finishing the quarter on a 15-8 run, even taking a brief 17-15 lead on two free throws by Alaina Coates with 9.1 seconds left in the quarter before Yvonne Turner tied it with a buzzer beater.

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